Tropical storm warnings have been declared for the Bahamas, which was just battered by Hurricane Dorian, evidence of strengthening in a system that forecasters say is moving toward Florida or the Gulf of Mexico.
The storm is set to drop as much as 7 inches of rain on some parts of the Bahamas, the National Hurricane Center said at 11 p.m. New York time. It has maximum winds of 30 miles (45 kilometers) an hour, just under tropical storm levels, and is moving northwest at about 2 mph.
The tropical disturbance is “meandering over” the southeastern Bahamas, according to the NHC. A storm watch was also issued for part of the eastern Florida coast. Some computer models show the system reaching Florida in two days, while others show it entering the Gulf and weakening.
“Given the model discrepancy, both the track and intensity forecasts are highly uncertain, more than usual I would say,” Lixion Avila, a senior hurricane specialist at the center, wrote in a forecast analysis.
The system is sitting directly over the part of the Bahamas hit hardest by Dorian. The island nation is still struggling to recover from that storm, which stalled over the Bahamas as a Category 5 hurricane with 180-mph winds. At least 50 people are confirmed dead from Dorian, hundreds are missing and the islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama are devastated.
If the disturbance gets better organized and gains strength, it will be called Humberto, becoming the eighth storm named across the Atlantic in a season that’s been slightly more active than the average.
On Wednesday, the health minister for the Bahamas, Duane Sands, said teams of dog handlers from the U.S., Canada and Belgium are uncovering more and more dead bodies among the debris. In a nation where 80% of the land is less than 32 feet (10 meters) above sea level, people were confronted by “20 feet of ocean in their backyard,” Sands said.
–With assistance from Sharon Cho.
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